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Ensuring EVs are fit for purpose

    During a fleet transition, ensuring the vehicles are operationally ‘fit for purpose’ should not be compromised when considering electric vehicles.

    It is essential that fleet assets are suitable for their corporate and operational requirements and also meet occupational health safety and transport legislation obligations in the mobile workplace.

    Understanding the main ‘fit for purpose’ criteria

    Electric vehicles should:

    • be operationally effective and have the range and performance needed to do the job
    • have an Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) or
      European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) equivalent five stars rating
    • be available in the market as and when required
    • have a demonstrated level of reliability and local service agents
    • be supported by their manufacturers
    • come with spare parts – commitment to parts inventory and expedient supply lines.

    Are current electric vehicles ‘fit for purpose’?

    Electric vehicles are designed with the same fit for purpose considerations as other vehicles. Whether they are fit for purpose for a specific organisation depends on the self-established criteria set by each organisation.

    Each organisation will prioritise a variety of the above components differently and it is important to review these when considering an electric vehicle

    The focus when organisations are first considering electric vehicles is often on whether they will have a driving range to perform a specific job function. Many of the newer electric vehicles will have sufficient range for the function, as the average daily driving distances for vehicles is generally far less than the typical range of new electric vehicle.

    How to assess whether vehicles have sufficient range

    Telemetry (vehicle data monitoring), and/or user interviews, average km readings from (odometer) or fuel card information can be used to determine the average kms a vehicle drives.

    It is important to properly understand real range under conditions to do this assessment properly. In addition, when assessing range, it is important to understand “dwell-times” as this will indicate if the vehicles have sufficient time to charge between being used for tasks.

    What to take into consideration when buying an EV

    When considering electric vehicles, it is important to take into account that vehicle servicing needs are reduced, and the implications of this on staffing and support needs.

    It is important to use a holistic approach when considering an electric vehicle.

    You need to think about:

    • model availability
    • spare parts
    • customer service
    • quality of support for maintenance

    There will all affect the decision to purchase a new fleet vehicle.

    How EVs are supported

    The more volume a product has in a market, the more likely it will be supported and have a ready supply of spare parts.

    Support is of particular concern to fleet managers in remote locations where local dealer partners may not support the vehicles. Some vehicles have nationwide support offerings, however organisations should ensure that there is sufficient support for fleets from local dealerships and manufacturers when evaluating their purchasing decisions.